Interview with Lucy Bennett, artistic director, Stopgap Dance Company | Arts head

Lucy Bennett

Lucy Bennett is artistic director of Stopgap Dance Organization. Photograph: Stopgap Dance Business

Hi Lucy, what can you tell me about Stopgap Dance Company?

Stopgap Dance Firm helps make evocative dance productions with exceptional disabled and non-disabled artists. We nurture and operate with expressive artists who have sturdy personalities and stories to tell. When they get with each other to devise authentic operates, the end result has a genuine emotional punch, which pushes you to look at the globe in a diverse way.

A sense of pioneering spirit and collaboration are really important in our company and we are continually creating discoveries about what kind of productions disabled and non-disabled artists can make. Some of our dancers have been doing work with each other for more than a decade and have large experience in integrated dance. We just lately stepped away from currently being a repertoire organization so that we can actually search at our own choreographic practice in detail and make our distinct artistic voice heard.

What are the implications of integrated dance and how do you approach it as artistic director?

Integrated dance for us is about finding new and unusual dance vocabularies. We use our various physicalities, experiences and studying styles to discover innovative and different methods of expression and motion. We typically convey this by saying: “distinction is our implies and our strategy.”

The approach of innovation at times reveals exciting social dynamics inside of the crew, and I consider to find ways to knit these into the production. Now that we are producing our own perform, we can use our creation approach to reconstruct some established tips about integrated dance – our new perform Artificial Things is total of new and uncommon dance sequences that came from looking at things in a lot more detail.

I think we have gone a small bit additional in questioning the normal shapes and accepted principles of dance. By taking complete control of the inventive approach, a much deeper exploration was achievable. I’m lucky to have a collective of dancers who are inquisitive.

Does this variety of integrated perform present any issues?

We want longer creation periods than most other businesses since we are doing work with various bodies and varying paces of learning. The diversity does make creation of new materials a lot more complicated. Even when we locate new tips, it requires longer to uncover consistency with a varied cast simply because there are so several overall performance variables for wheelchair or learning disabled dancers, but experience has taught us that the material ultimately will tighten with practice.

It truly is frequently tough for new business dancers to adjust to our tempo, so we seek out people who could get utilized to it. But this slower pace and mishaps are not all unfavorable it can motivate a supportive surroundings, which assists to build a great team spirit. The dancers realise they want each and every other to do what they do, and their co-dependence is quite much reflected in our work.

Dance is frequently noticed as a really image and entire body-led artform – how much is integrated dance demanding that?

Dancers like Dave Toole, who had a starring role in the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony, had a large affect in modifying standard suggestions about who can dance. London 2012 raised so significantly awareness of inclusive and integrated functionality. It was quite emotional seeing so a lot of wonderful disabled and non-disabled performers putting on such an amazing spectacle.

Where we need to have to make far better progress is how we involve understanding disabled artists and recognise the contribution they can make. Chris Pavia, who has been operating with Stopgap for 15 many years, devised one particular of my central characters in Artificial Factors by means of a direct dialogue with me. His raw imagination and the potential to be “in the second” is fascinating and I hope that his performance will change perceptions about finding out disabled artists.

What makes for a good artistic director in dance?

For me it really is about the big and little. You have to come up with the big vision, but you also have to be on hand with the tiny concepts that can fix the everyday issues. I have constantly admired artistic directors who are speaking at a conference one particular minute but are pleased to make tea for their colleagues the subsequent. It really is healthier to see factors from various perspectives and be adaptive to circumstances. As artistic director, I practice generating myself large when I require to be heard, and small when I want to quietly observe.

With no what could you not do your task?

A tea break with my dancers. That’s where I get some of my best tips.

Lucy Bennett is artistic director of Stopgap Dance Firm – adhere to the business on Twitter @Stopgapdance

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